April 24, 2010

UK: Nostalgia books help turn back the clock for dementia victims

. OXFORD, England / The Oxford Mail / News / Community / April 24, 2010 By Amanda Williams A SET OF nostalgic picture books are helping memories come flooding back for elderly people suffering from dementia. Oxfordshire County Council has been using the memory books in day centres and care homes to help spark happy recollections. The idea has been tested as a pilot project in parts of the county. And now the themed books, which include photographs, paintings and drawings accompanied by phrases, poems or quotations, are being rolled out across the whole of Oxfordshire. The Pictures to Share Partnership Project has produced 10 titles, including Childhood, Pets and Women’s Work. Pat Coyne, 79, reads one of the Pictures to Share books with Sandra Marskell at Southerndown Care Home in Chipping Norton Staff at The Elms Health and Wellbeing Centre in Witney and the Banbury Day Centre have been looking at them with small groups of residents. Staff members said the older people enjoyed a sing-a-long of old holiday songs after looking a book called At the Beach. They also particularly liked seeing ukulele player George Formby and comedians Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise in the book called Funny Old World. Anney Blake, a librarian with the council’s communities and learning team, said the books were helping staff to connect with and learn more about their clients. She said: “Dementia is rapidly becoming a bigger challenge to society – the number of people with it now stands at about 820,000 nationally. It is one of the county council’s main priorities to plan how best to support people in Oxfordshire with dementia. “Last year the library service discovered the Pictures to Share books and decided to trial them in two day centres where clients have dementia. “We had some very positive feedback about how clients enjoyed the books. “We are delighted that the pilot has been such a success and that people have got so much out of using the Picture to Share books.” More sets of the books have now arrived and have been loaned to three care homes — Southerndown Care Home, in Chipping Norton, Tall Trees Residential Home in Shipton-under-Wychwood and Fewcott House Nursing Home, in Fewcott, near Bicester.